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Watch Your Language

            “Yo. You def need to talk to him, like you obviously like him.” I said to Tsion on our usual morning trolley ride to school. We had met up at the 45th street trolley stop, and it was time for our usual girl talk. Girl talk is when we each tell everything, no holding back.

“I don’t like him!” She tried to hide her awkward smile, but I saw through her lie. We were the loudest people on the usually quiet trolley. I never realize it until all eyes are on our conversation.

“Oh my gosh, you are such a liar. I hate you and your lies.” I said to her in a serious voice. I couldn’t help but laugh after I said it. She laughed back, but her laugh said it all. It was the “Amanda you so crazy laugh”.

Then she actually said it “You are so crazy, but I do a little. I just don’t want to anymore.” I laughed at her. I hear those words everyday “Amanda you are so crazy”. I completely agree with that statement, those words not only describe my speech, but also my actions. It’s strange, but I only hear these words from my friends.

 “How has your winter break been?” My Great Aunt Linda asked me when I was over her house for the traditional Christmas dinner.

“The break has been wonderful. So far, I have completed all my homework and my mother and I have watched a few movies.” I replied in a light, yet sweet voice. Then I smiled, and put on a complete “I-am-such-an-angle” act. My family always falls for it .I could also see something else in my aunt’s eyes when I talk; judgment.

 “Our family looks down on us because I am a single mom. They pity us and they don’t think I raised you right. That’s just our family, get used to it.” My mom stuck this idea in my head when I was young. I grew up trying to be better than my families perception of me .I couldn’t be relaxed around them. I had to be perfect, I had to show them that my life was completely normal and that I was intelligent.

According to James Baldwin “You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and, alas, your future.” In simpler words the way a person speaks, the vocabulary they use and the accent they have, can tell all about a person. For instance, if a person always talks with words that aren’t in the dictionary and their grammar is completely wrong, then most likely this person didn’t go to one of the best schools and probably works a minimum wage job. This could also mean that their parents didn’t push them enough or that they have too low of self-esteem to really believe in them selves.

Since I believe this quote to be true, I am afraid to use slang or just say whatever is on my mind around my family. Using slang will prove what they already think is true, that I am not educated well and that I pretty much live in poverty. My family believes that because I never went to the most expensive private schools or had a father in my life to support me. My guard always has to be up around them, I can’t just let lose and be goofy. I have to be proper and always watch what I say.

I was always the youngest in the family. The only other girl in the family near my age was about six years older than me. I was out casted because of such an age difference. My cousins didn’t want to have a deep conversation with me; I was to young too talk about anything relevant to their lives like dating or high school. I knew from a young age they didn’t want me around. I could just tell by the stares that pierced me whenever I walked into the room.

“Hello” Glenda my oldest cousin asked while going in for an awkward hug. She didn’t say it as if she cared, it was just something to say to break the tension between us.

“Hello …”I go in for the unwanted hug and then pulled away quickly. She stared at me.

“How have you been?”  I said swiftly, I wasn’t used to these word. “What’s up?” is what I say to my friends, she wasn’t my friend. She was far from one.

“Great.” Anywhere but here, it was like she was thinking out loud. Glenda walked to the other side of the room as soon as her mom peered out of the kitchen. I didn’t know what to say, it was strange because I always have something to say. I always felt this way around my mom’s half of the family.

I couldn’t help but to notice that I wasn’t myself around people I wasn’t comfortable with. With my friends I felt like I could just be myself and talk anyway I pleased. I didn’t feel the same around my family .It could be the fear of not being accepted by them or just not knowing what to say in a conversation. Whatever the reason, I can’t help but to code switch.